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Income Distribution and Poverty

This Policy Briefing examines the key challenges facing Ireland in terms of poverty and income distribution and sets out policy proposals for addressing income inequality and reducing poverty rates.

  • 756,591 people are living in poverty in Ireland according to the latest CSO statistics published today..
  • Even though the poverty line fell by 15% since 2008, the proportion of Ireland's population below this lower poverty line has risen by 15% during the same period.

Survey on Income and Living Conditions 2012

Latest statistics show poorest 10% of population lost 18.4% of real disposable income compared to 11.4% loss among the richest 10&% since the crash of 2008.

Situation worse if cuts in services and increased charges are included in calculations.

The gap between low and middle-income Ireland on the one hand and the rich on the other hand has widened dramatically.

'What Future for the Regions?' - paper presented by Dr. Patricia O'Hara at Social Justice Ireland's social policy conference 2013 'A Future Worth Living For'.

The increase in the proportion of Ireland’s population at risk of poverty, (from 14.7% to 16.0% in one year) clearly identifies a major policy failure by Government which has imposed a disproportionate part of the ‘hit’ for current budgetary adjustments on Ireland’s poor and vulnerable people. 

  1. The Government’s new child poverty target could be reached while child poverty continues to grow!
  2. No target set to reduce the numbers of ‘working poor’ - means major group continues to be ignored in practice.

The Government has just published the National Reform Programme 2012 Update for Ireland which contains, amongst other information a revised poverty target under Ireland’s commitments to the Europe 2020 Strategy.

The Vincentian Partnership for Social Justice and MABS National Development Ltd. have launched a Minimum Income Standard calculator for Irish households. This tool will allow households to calculate the cost of a Minimum Essential Standard of Living.